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Christianizing the Roman Empire: A.D. 100-400 Paperback – 1984
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Christianity grew dramatically from the day of Pentecost to the year 400 through mass conversations. At the end of the first century, the church held a minimal significance in Roman society. It simply "did not count." Within three centuries it included ten percent of the population and had displaced the other religions of the empire. In Christianizing the Roman Empire MacMullen addresses the factors for this amazing growth. The author demonstrates that these mass conversions first came through the power of miracles and later through the social advantage of becoming a Christian. As such, MacMullen is diminishing the value of Christian piety and the testimony of martyrs as reasons for the mass evangelization.
The book is divided into two sections, which are the times prior to 312 and after 312 (Constantine's "conversion" in 312 and the Edict of Milan in 313). He first examines what Pagans of the culture believed. Then he looks at what Christians presented to the Pagans about this new faith, and how they presented it. The influence of Constantine is examined, as are the non-religious factors that led to conversions. MacMullen then looks at evangelical campaigns after 312, including the conversion of intellectuals. Finally he looks at the quality of the conversions and those that were won through coercion.Read more ›
about early christianity without going into a diatribe in
some particular direction. This is a book about the documented
history of christianity -- not pro christian dogma and not
anti-christian diatribe. While documentation is not the end
of every possible controversy (in fact the book brings up new
questions) it is at least helpful to know what information can
in fact be found -- and to know what is not to be found.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Somewhat satisfied except for the previous owner's underlinings.Published 4 months ago by SteveDali69
It's got the facts, lacks the force to weave it into one common story. This book is about the alienness that Christianity in times of the Romans would be for us today: a religion... Read morePublished on October 26, 2013 by MVM
Read this first. Then read Rodney Stark's "Rise of Christianity".
These are quality books, in contrast to "There is a God" supposedly by Antony Flew but... Read more
This book very effectively goes through the historical inaccuracies most people are confronted with when discussing martyrdom in the roman empire and how the shift from a pagan... Read morePublished on June 10, 2013 by Kristen
There's no question about the author's academic credentials not the amount and quality of research that was put into this book. Read morePublished on March 7, 2011 by Jorg H. Lueke
Ramsay MacMullen, a Professor Emeritus of History at Yale, has a talent for making events in the remote past accessible to readers who have any interest in history. Read morePublished on January 28, 2010 by Jay Young
Having read the other reviews cited here, I generally agree with them all. MacMullen presents a somewhat unorthodox though well documented account of why pagans converted to... Read morePublished on July 15, 2009 by Jamie B.
The book is as good as the other reviews describe. I found it unfortunately ambivalent, though, on certain crucial questions. Read morePublished on March 17, 2004 by D. Moore